Two more suspected victims of Jhalakathi launch fire float up on Sugandha River

The bodies are that of a man and a woman, Fire Service and Civil Defence Assistant Director Kobad Ali Sarker confirmed on Wednesday.

The woman’s remains were pulled from the water near Chabatkanda area around 8:30am while those of the man were found around 11am near Rajapur Upazila’s Dahar Shangkar area in Bishkhali River.

They were around 40 years old and both had burns in the body.

“The burns indicate that they were scorched in the launch fire,” Kobad Ali said.

If the bodies are from the deadliest inland vessel fire in Bangladesh’s history, the death toll will climb to 44.

Of the five bodies found in the six days following the fire, relatives identified two while the three others will be handed over to families following autopsy.

As the launch went up in flames in the wee hours of Dec 24, scores of passengers flung themselves into the water to survive. More than 50 people are being treated in hospitals.

The day after the inferno, rescuers pulled bodies from the charred vessel and the river before burying 24 unidentified bodies in a mass grave.

The Criminal Investigation Department’s Additional SP Ashit Sarker said their Jhalakathi and Barguna units collected 47 samples from relatives to cross-match with victims until Tuesday night.

The ill-fated launch was confiscated over two cases started with Jhalakathi police, who also confiscated two motorcycles found on board the vessel as evidence, the investigation officer of a case SI Nazrul Islam said.

Police on Dec 27 said so far 41 people were reported missing.

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Amid the cries of relatives searching for their loved ones, locals, the fire service, coastguards and naval police continued the rescue work.

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